Wednesday, December 3, 2008

High level basics about Mixers and Source selectors

A mixer is a device that selects two our more line level source signals and combines them into a composite signal.   

A mixer should not be confused with a source selector it is similar to a mixer but it is in some cases integrated with the amplifier and in other cases the signal selector, amplifier, and tuner are combined in one unit. The signal selector is capable in some cases of mixing multiple sources however it is typically used to select a single source and routing that signal to an integrated or peripheral device like a tape deck or the amplifier. 

Mixers come in a variety of flavors however to keep this simple additive mixers combine two or more signals into a composite output that has the frequencies of both. It should be understood that with all electronics some resistance is present so their will be some subtle signal degradation. 

Type of mixers:

  • Passive - resistor based
  • Active – which do impedance matching and better isolation 

A sound board is a classic example of a mixer that most people are familiar with and they come with 8, 16, 32, etc channels which can all be combined. My next post will deal with sound boards in more detail.

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